Evidence-Based Versus Non Evidence-Based Allergy Tests and Treatments
Allergy is a science based medical speciality which relies on the use of ‘evidence-based’ allergy tests and treatments. This means that there needs to be published evidence that a test or treatment is reliable, based on studies of other patients with similar conditions.
Accurate diagnosis of allergic disorders requires an examination of the patient’s clinical history by a qualified medical practitioner, to determine whether allergy or another immune condition is likely to be the cause of symptoms, combined with reliable evidence-based allergy tests to confirm the diagnosis. Evidence-based treatments can then be prescribed and management strategies advised, based on the diagnosis.
ASCIA strongly recommends against the online allergy testing and non evidence-based, unproven allergy ‘tests’ and “treatments”, which can result in adverse outcomes, including:
- Major dietary restrictions that can impair growth and cause malnutrition, particularly in young children.
- Impact on employment and social functioning, due to unnecessary avoidance of foods. environmental allergens and chemicals.
- Delayed access to more effective diagnostic tests and treatments, with lost productivity from inadequately controlled allergic disease.
ASCIA has developed the following information about Evidence-Based Versus Non Evidence-Based Allergy Tests and Treatments, to assist patients, consumers, carers and health professionals to choose evidence-based, proven allergy tests and treatments:
- ASCIA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Evidence-Based Versus Non Evidence-Based Tests and Treatments for Allergic Disorders (for patients, consumers and carers)
- ASCIA Position Paper - Evidence-Based Versus Non Evidence-Based Tests and Treatments for Allergic Disorders (for health professionals)
- ASCIA Reference List - Evidence-Based Versus Non Evidence-Based Tests and Treatments for Allergic Disorders
These documents replace the old ASCIA documents about “unorthodox” allergy tests and treatments. The word “unorthodox” has been retained in the documents to describe “unorthodox/alternative practitioners”, but tests and treatments are now referred to as “non-evidence-based” instead of “unorthodox”.
Further information about allergy testing is available on the ASCIA website:
- Patients, Carers and Consumers - www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-testing
- Health Professionals - www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers#p11